Why is there a hierarchy of musical instruments? Some naturally attract respect while others are the butt of jokes. Matt Allwright investigates this terrible injustice.
Why do some instruments get all the tunes and the respect, while others are left at the bottom of the heap? The leader of the orchestra is always a violinist, and the guitarist usually gets to leap around at the front of the band. Meanwhile other instruments, like the drums, don’t get a lot of attention - except when it comes to being the butt of jokes.
Matt Allwright is on a mission to uncover the source of this terrible injustice, and find out whether his own beloved “low status” instrument – the pedal steel guitar – can ever find the spotlight.
• Stewart Copeland – The Police (drums)
• Dr Daria Kwiatkowska – composer, University of Birmingham (piano)
• Margaret Birley – Keeper of Musical Instruments, Horniman Museum
• Superorganism (assorted)
• Richard Farnes – conductor
• Stephen Bryant – leader, BBC Symphony Orchestra (violin)
• Tony Bedewi – BBC Symphony Orchestra (timpani)
• Tomoka Mukai – BBC Symphony Orchestra (flute)
• Steve Magee – BBC Symphony Orchestra (contrabassoon)